Showing posts from 2018

Curbside Pick-up... The Bolivian Way

Over the last few weeks, I have been thinking about how I could best share our life in Bolivia with our friends and family from far away. One of the biggest differences in daily living is grocery shopping (and prices!). It is a far cry from curbside pick-up, but I have grown to mostly love it. 
Because Cochabamba is one of the largest cities in Bolivia, we have a variety of options when it comes to shopping. There are two big chains of supermarkets (think Target and Walmart in the early 2000's), lots of smaller mini-mart type stores, and then traditional markets. 
Because we rely on public transportation, getting to the big supermarkets is usually more trouble than it's worth. We typically go when we "need" specialty items like tortillas, cream cheese, peanut butter, etc... 
On a normal week, we usually go to the market closest to our house for our groceries. About two blocks from our house, there is a bus that will take us to the market. The bus costs 1 boliviano e…

18,000 + WORDS

This past July, I celebrated my anniversary with Bolivia. In July of 2012 I came to Bolivia for the first time, and in July of 2014 I moved to Bolivia with exactly 99.5 lbs of luggage and a backpack that probably weighed almost as much.

 As time has passed, the novelty of life here has faded. The things I once considered foreign have become [mostly] normal. I used to be afraid of getting burned when I lit a match, and now I light a match to start the stove several times a day. I used to cringe when greeting people with a cheek to cheek air kiss, and now I only cringe when the other person is especially sweaty or has prickly facial hair.

Over the last four years, Bolivia has become my second home. There are things about this country that are really beautiful, and there are also things that I am still waiting for the Lord to make beautiful.

I would love to share my second home with all of you, (please come and visit... we have a room for you!) both the beautiful things, and the not so …

Radical Hospitality - Sacrificing the Guinea Pig

For years, I resisted the trend. I laughed in the face of Pinterest. I thought it was like a grown up version of “playing house”.

Then, overnight I became a temporary first grade teacher. And Pinterest became my best friend.

It turns out, Pinterest is actually a great resource for teachers. It is also a great resource for new recipes, cleaning tips, haircut ideas, and just about anything else you can imagine.

Just like with anything, Pinterest can be dangerous if we begin to put our hope in what it can offer us. But, it can also be a tool to serve the Lord and to serve others.

So, one day, as I was preparing the extra room for guests I thought – “Why not see what ideas Pinterest has to make our guests feel welcome?”

It turned out, there were thousands of ideas. I found out that in order to be hospitable, I should:

•Provide water bottles in the guest room.
•Find a cute way to write the wifi password.
•Provide fluffy towels.
•Light a candle.

The list could (and does) go on and on and on…

One Year - In the Valley

In January of 2011, I went to a winter retreat with the campus ministry that I was involved in. I don’t remember most of what happened at that retreat. I can’t tell you the theme. I don’t remember the speaker’s name. I have no idea what he even spoke about. What I do remember is a verse we memorized together.

“The Lord our God is a sun and shield. The Lord gives grace and mercy. No good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly.” Psalm 84:11

I memorized this verse with the hundreds of other college students. I don’t remember why we memorized it, or how many times we must have repeated it together, but it stayed with me.

It’s a nice verse. We like to think of our God as a sun and a shield. A sun is powerful. Life-giving. A shield protects us. We like that God gives grace and mercy. We are in desperate need of both.  I think we really like the last part. NO good thing does He withhold from those who walk uprightly. So, if I walk with the Lord, He will not withhold anything go…

Welcoming Winter

As I scroll through Facebook, I am reminded of summer. Teachers are finishing end of year cleaning. Parents are proud of their graduating students. Students are enjoying their new freedom at the pool/river/beach. People are traveling. Even the people that are officially adults and don’t get to do anything fun are complaining about the heat while enjoying beautiful popsicles with a summery background.

But this isn’t a blog about the danger of comparing my life to others, or the dangers of Facebook. Even without the benefit of social media to see all the best filtered moments of other people’s lives, my own heart tells me what I should expect at this time of year. Summer is typically a time of newness. Warmth. Freedom. Exciting things. Traveling. Visitors.

So as I watch others begin their summers from afar, I watch the leaves fall off the trees in my yard. I put on (another) jacket before walking to the store. I put off showering (again) because it is too cold. And I wish it could be su…

Waiting in Line.. For the Glory of God

I tapped my foot impatiently as I checked the time. Again. The line behind me was beginning to grumble impatiently as well. After waiting for two hours for the legal assessor to show up, I was all grumbled out.

I had been in this office the day before to submit my paperwork to annul my foreigner’s ID, and request a Bolivian ID. The day before, the man told me I was missing my marriage certificate, and a bank deposit of $2.50. “You can come back tomorrow.” He said. “I’ll be here from 7:00am – 3:00pm.”

So with that in mind, I had called Franco and asked him to meet me at the civil registry where we got married. I got on the bus to meet Franco, and mentally chided myself. I just requested this same form three days ago, and turned it in when I requested my Bolivian birth certificate. I should have asked for two…just in case.

When I arrived at the civil registry, I checked the time again. They should have opened at 3:00, but at 3:10 there was still a line outside of the closed door. I took…

Have You Ever?

Have you ever seen someone pour beer on their car? Sprinkle beer around their house? Shoot innocent strangers with a water gun from their car? Burn fake money and incense in charcoal on their sidewalk? Come to Cochabamba today and you can!

Today is a holiday known in Bolivia as Martes de Challa. On the Tuesday following Carnaval (Mardi Gras) weekend, each family offers “sacrifice” to the PachaMama (the god of mother earth). Franco estimates that around 80% of families participate, and judging by the smoke in the air, he must be right. A charcoal fire is lit, and incense is burned. Street vendors also sell miniature items such as money, houses, cars, etc. that can be burned in the fire. The idea is that by burning these items, the PachaMama will bless you by giving you the things you burned. Sprinkling beer on your possessions is a way of blessing the items you already have. It is a dark time in Bolivia, and is a reminder of how many people around us are living without Jesus, in fear a…